Elements of Theatrical Design
By: STO Marisa Berrones, Midland High School, Troupe 3376
The STOs would love to say congratulations to all of the State Theatrical Design finalists. After so many amazing designs at State, it only makes sense to cover the elements that go into theatrical design!
When thinking about theatrical design, costuming is likely at the forefront of your mind. The show's actors come onto the stage and your eyes are drawn to the beautiful colors of the makeup, hair, and costumes. When watching the show you might not be thinking about everything that goes into costume design, but behind the scenes there are hours of work dedicated to making a show look the way it does. For example, when my company did The Beggar’s Opera it was a three-day process of getting ready. For a Saturday performance hair would be put into sponge rollers on Thursday, kept in all of Friday, and then brushed, teased, and lastly Got-2-B Glue-d for two hours on Saturday. If that wasn't enough, we also had to paint on tooth rot, put on layers and layers of petticoats, and cover everything in dirt. The getting ready part of a show can only happen after a color palette, styles, and scheme have been decided on.
Set design is another one of the first things you'll notice about a show's theatrical design. Whether it's at a fall performance or an OAP 7-Minute Set-Up, the set is there before any of the actors even are. While it may seem like a set can go up in minutes it takes weeks of construction and planning for a set design to be finished.
While what goes into making a show look fantastic is incredibly important! What would a show be without its audience? The best way to gain an audience for your show is to Market it, but the hard truth is, if marketing is not aesthetically appealing then it will not do its intended job. The marketing of a show typically will follow the same color palette and textures chosen for the costume design. It will include notable symbols from the show like the badger on the Puffs poster. Another way to market your show is by handing out little nick-knacks similar to items in your show. For example, when my school did Puffs in the fall we sold buttons similar to the ones that Cedric wore and felt badger flags to pass out at our homecoming parade!
With a now expanded knowledge of what the elements of theatrical design are you too can participate in your own company or even UIL Theatrical Design!
Your 2022 Texas State Thespian Officers
By: STO Folarin Oyeleye, Foster High School, Troupe 7961
Today we travel overseas, so that we may familiarize ourselves with the elegance behind Japan's rich history in the theatre. There are three forms of traditional Japanese theatre: Kabuki, Noh, and Bunraku. However, today we’re only going to focus on the kabuki. So, I hope you’re comfortable before we jump back into Japan’s Edo period.
During the late 16th century when Japan's warring period had begun to die down, people sought new ways to entertain themselves. This then gave birth to a certain style of dance known as the kabuki- odori. A woman known as Okuni bore costumes and surreal movements from the kabukimono to perform surreal acts for her audience.
This would then lead to the popularization of this theatrical style. As time went on they incorporated instruments such as the shamisen (A three- stringed guitar that gained popularity throughout the region of Tokyo). Even the stages grew to be elaborate, as they’re littered with trap doors and revolving sets to add to the dramatics.
This all adds to the resources they can use to tell their stories. With famous works such as: Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura, Benten Kozo, and Yotsuya Kaidan being notable for how the theatre can focus on historical tales, love stories, or tragedies.
If reading so far has made you interested in visiting one of these plays then some spots of interest to visit would be the kabuki- za theatre in Tokyo or the Kyōto Shijo Minami- za in Kyoto. However, make sure you're ready for the long haul. Although kabuki plays like to focus on the most important parts of a story, these plays usually have about five acts. The Jo is the slow beginning. The Ha is acts 2-4 with a tragedy often occurring in the 3rd act. And the Kyu is the conclusion.
I hope this has been as enlightening for you guy's as it was for me as I got to research this. As always, if you're interested in this topic feel free to do some research of your own and share some fun facts with us in the comments!
Till next time,
Your 2021 Texas State Thespian Officers
Amy Jordan, Chapter Director
15 Circle Drive
Denison Texas 75021
TEA CPE Provider #902-342
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